Monday, May 14, 2012

When I First Went to America: Mixtape

1968. The Summer of Love.

I was going to spend the year in America with my family and had no idea what to expect. I was 11 years old. While I had been to the States five years previous America was a mythic dreamland to me.  About as real as heaven or Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

We flew from Calcutta on Air India to Hongkong. And from there we flew to Honolulu then LA.  I got my first taste of America on the way from LAX to our cousins’ house in Pasadena. McDonalds. What impressed me most, this wide-eyed kid from India, was the bendy red and yellow plastic straw!  In India straws were made of thin paper that collapsed when you sucked them.  America really was cool!

The other thing that impressed me was the bright brassy music that played wherever you went. On the radio, in the elevators, in the restaurants. I loved it. I was struggling to learn how to play the trumpet and to hear Herb Alpert and Al Hirt play such peppy happy music made my heart sing.

That sound has stayed with me till today. Whenever I hear the Tijuana Brass or Frank or Mahalia Jackson I’m transported instantly back to those first few weeks in America in the summer of 1968. And I smile.

            Track Listing:

            01 Wives and Lovers (Jack Jones)
02 The Morning Song (Jack McDuff)
03 Java (Al Hirt)
04 Strangers in the Night (Frank Sinatra)
05 In the Ghetto (Elvis Presley)
06 Wichita Lineman (Glen Campbell)
07 Hello, Goodbye (The Beatles)
08 Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again (Bob Dylan)
09 The Lonely Bull (El Solo Toro) [Herb Albert]
10 Maggie's Farm (Bob Dylan)
11 Puff, The Magic Dragon (Peter, Paul and Mary)
12 We Shall Overcome (Pete Seeger)
13. Sleep On Dr. King, Sleep On (Elizabeth D. Williams)
14 Oh, Happy Day (Edwin Hawkins Singers)
15 The Look Of Love (Sergio Mendes and Brasilia 66)
16 It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Richie Havens)
17 Elijah Rock (Mahalia Jackson)
18 Delilah (Tom Jones)
19 Cannonball (Duane Eddy)
20 Vietnam Blues (J.B. Lenoir)
21 Ohio (Neil Young)
22 Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)


Anonymous said...

Thank you. When I first went to America I was 34, but I felt like 11!

Rebecca said...

Memories memories!